cover image Giants in the Land

Giants in the Land

Diana Appelbaum. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-64720-2

The white pines of colonial New England were truly ``giants living on this land,'' as first-time author Appelbaum imaginatively demonstrates. The trees, she notes, ``stood taller than an apartment house twenty-five stories high, taller than the tallest building ever built in New Hampshire or Maine.'' Her story uses a wealth of such well-presented facts to describe how, in King George's day, these trees were laboriously cut, hoisted onto huge axles, hauled by teams of oxen to the nearest river and eventually transported to England, where they became the giant masts of British warships. These trees have all been felled, but as Appelbaum optimistically concludes, ``giants are growing now.'' The scratchboard illustrations give this text real drama. McCurdy ( The Beasts of Bethlehem ) recreates the massiveness of his subject with heavily black trees that tower past the edges of the suitably tall (12-inch) pages or topple from one corner of a spread to another, dwarfing the men who harvest them. These powerful images make a potentially esoteric subject concrete and approachable. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)